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Rwanda and Congo leaders meet amid tensions in Angola

KIGALI – Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi will meet with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame in Angola amid rising tensions between the two neighboring countries, a Congolese government spokesman said.

The two leaders on Wednesday will discuss bilateral ties and the armed conflict in eastern Congo, where M23 rebels took a town near the border with Uganda last month, Congo spokesman Patrick Muyaya told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Congolese officials have claimed that M23 is backed by Rwanda and have accused its much smaller neighbor of occupying Congolese territory.

“They will talk about Rwanda’s aggression in the Congo,” Muyaya said over the phone. Asked if Congo still believes Rwandan troops are fighting alongside the M23 rebels in eastern Congo, Muyaya replied: “It’s obvious.”

Rwanda has long denied supporting M23 and has denied the reports by conflict monitors, UN experts and others. M23 is made up mostly of ethnic Tutsi fighters from Congo who say their government has failed to live up to previous pledges to reintegrate them into the national army.

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Earlier this year, the African Union asked the President of Angola to mediate in the conflict between Congo and Rwanda.

Kagame had delivered harsh words to Congolese authorities in televised speeches on Monday, accusing Congo of supporting another rebel group that includes fighters accused of taking part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Congo has always denied supporting the group, commonly known by its initials as FDLR.

“It’s the same story as 20 years ago. Why would the Congo support them in bombing Rwanda’s territory? These allegations are not true,” Muyaya said. “We are dealing with hundreds of armed groups in the country and we have discussed a common strategy with all neighbors to end the activities of foreign armed groups.”

Regional leaders under the East African Community bloc – which Congo recently joined – are working to deploy a peacekeeping force in troubled provinces in eastern Congo.

It remains unclear when the force, which would be empowered to disarm insurgents like M23, will be deployed.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/world/2022/07/05/rwanda-congo-leaders-to-meet-in-angola-amid-tensions/ Rwanda and Congo leaders meet amid tensions in Angola

Sarah Y. Kim

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